Take a look at our latest Trading Stories, Working Lives occupational history – James Powell, a spinner of angola and merino in Victorian Loughborough.
Pause for a moment in Loughborough Market Place. A portly bronze man sits upon a podium, left leg outstretched; with a gentle smile he admires his single sock, patterned with zig-zags and dots. This is the Sock Man, a sculpture created by Shona Kinloch in 1998 to celebrate Loughborough’s hosiery heritage.
Many of my ancestors – almost too many to count – worked as framework knitters, trimmers and seamers in Loughborough. They formed the very fabric of the town. Yet when I see the Sock Man, one ancestor in particular springs to mind: it’s time to take a closer look at the working life of James Powell (1824-1906), a spinner of Pinfold Gate.
A quick shuttle through the census returns (www.ancestry.co.uk) reveals that James – the son of stocking maker John Powell and Catherine (nee Taylor) – spent almost his entire working life as a spinner. What’s more, he lived on what is essentially one street – Pinfold Row, Street and Gate – for seventy years or so. Could I add a few zig-zags and dots to this rather plain material, spin a little colour into James Powell’s life story?
Download the full story here: James Powell, a spinner in Loughborough
Watch the film of workers clocking out at the Cartwright and Warner factory in 1900.
You might also like to take a look at the other articles in our Trading Stories, Working Lives series: